The following is a guest post by Alison Fabricius, one of my good friends.
❤ : Ari
I stood up from pinning a quilt one day last year and felt something in my back give. For the next 24 hours, I was in agony, and upon my visit to the ER, I was told it was simply a deep tissue muscle spasm. I was told that with a week of bed rest, I would be fine, but three months later, that has proven not to be the case. I underwent a bi-lateral micro discectomy and have since been confined to the bed or couch whenever I’m not outside walking. This injury has given me a lot of time to ponder about my journey and where I’m meant to be. I’ve often wondered if I’m simply not on the right road and many times have felt an almost total melt down on the fringes. I found a scripture in my morning reading, and I wish I could remember the reference. But I remembered the part I needed to…hope is required for eternal life. I’ve made this my motto. Sure, I don’t know how I’m going to pay for next semester, or when I’m getting married or when I’m going to be able to return to work. But I know Heavenly Father put me here, He prepared for this “bump” in the road, as I call it. For Him it’s always simply been an opportunity. How do I know this? Let me share how I’ve started learning about this principle.
As a child, I had the perfect picture of what I wanted life to be. I was going to be an EMT, History Professor, mother, and wife to an amazing RM. As I grew up, I heard things like “you can be whatever you want to be.” So I took that to heart. I studied history, took A.P history, A.P government, and debate. I was determined to be the best public speaker I could be. I wanted to be ready to teach in a classroom.
Then I left high school and got into the history program at USU and I fell even more in love with history, if that’s even possible. I studied Latin so I would be able to translate anything that came my way. I threw myself into Institute classes and Institute choir and I was sure the perfect RM was just around the corner. Surely, with as many things as I was doing right, surely the blessings would come…but the ones I was expecting didn’t come. I enjoyed serving on the Institute Council and learning everything that there was to know about that building. I enjoyed serving and meeting people, but the RMs kept saying hi…and marrying other girls. So I decided I would simply proceed with my plan of getting my PhD and if a man happened to enter my life, great. My life was about to change drastically.
I got a job at Deseret Industries and I loved it. I loved being able to help people and encourage the guys on my team. Also, there just happened to be a VERY cute boy on the team. He was so nice and worked so hard. He had the best work ethic in the whole place and he looked like a 24 year old RM earning money for school. People noticed my googly eyes and told me to watch out, “he had a past” and an innocent girl like me should avoid him. Me, being the audacious and spunky 19-20 year old that I was, I ignored them completely. I started working my magic…and the rest is history. Or not. I found out that the supervisors were looking at him to become a lead and according to DI policy, leads can’t date associates, so we continued getting to know each other, but kept it at that.
Then one morning I felt prompted to ask if I should serve a mission and the answer was positive. That one prayer changed just about everything. I was still six months shy of putting in my papers. I asked myself often what in the world I was supposed to do with the first nice young man to come along while I was gone for 18 months? I asked Heavenly Father that a lot as well. His only response was a smile. So I prepared to serve a mission, I did dental stuff and visited the doctor, and plead to go to the temple. I was told to wait. So I did.
One day at work during this time there was an incident and first aid was required. I took my “patient” into the office. I cleaned their cuts, I tracked their eye movement, asked them their date of birth, and made sure their pupils were dilating appropriately. That day I found I loved helping people, I loved knowing what to do and doing it. As I told Mom about my adventure that night, she asked me if I really wanted to be a professor. Did I really want to spend the rest of my life dividing my time between the archives, writing, and answering questions 24/7? In that moment, I realized what I had wanted for over a decade didn’t feel right anymore. I went to the Lord and asked him, for the first time, what He had in mind. His answer? Nursing school, after the mission. So I switched some of my classes around to go more sciency and I kept preparing for the mission.
I found myself wondering how in the world all of these things were supposed to fall into place, as I realized that this young man I was falling in love with might just want to marry me. I am so very thankful for an insightful Bishop who told me to date this young man and see what would come. His words: “things aren’t set in stone yet.” Once the Deseret Industries handbook rules were worked through (i.e he got another job), we dated more seriously and I realized I wanted to marry him, too. Imagine my shock when I asked Heavenly Father if it could really work, and he said yes. So I proceeded. I got my mission call, my young man supported me wholeheartedly, then one night my bishop called me in and told me he had set up the interview because he was worried about my feelings for this young man and my plans for a mission. Then he said, after a night of prayer, he felt like my man and I would be okay. That night as we finished the interview, he prayed that my man and I would find each other again once I completed my mission.
Fast forward one year, I’d been in the mission field for nine months and sick for the last two. Finally, it got so bad, my mission president gave me an ultimatum: I needed to decide whether to go home and heal and return to another mission or simply finish my mission. I took the weekend to fast and pray and received an answer that made no sense: I knew it was okay to come home, after six months beforehand of trying to decide whether serving was really where I needed to be or whether I should get married and knowing the mission was the right place for me. I went, and only halfway through, I came home knowing, again, it was the right thing to do.
Sometimes I feel like my entire young life went so smoothly along, with no bumps, no turns, no changes. Then in one fell swoop the bumps came with out warning. And they just keep coming. Med school instead of nursing school, not getting married the minute I got off the plane, even though my wonderful young man waited and proposed (this story still to come). And now I face back surgery at 23, definitely not what I was thinking for myself. Yet, once again, Heavenly Father gave me just the right heads up. Sometimes I wondered what was I doing wrong, then I received this reassurance from Elder Klebingat:
“Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience. Remember that you are here to be proved and tested, “to see if [you] will do all things whatsoever the Lord [your] God shall command [you]” (Abraham 3:25)—and may I just add, “under all circumstances.” Millions of your brothers and sisters have been or are being thus tested, so why would you be exempt? Some trials come through your own disobedience or negligence. Other trials come because of the negligence of others or simply because this is a fallen world. When these trials come, the adversary’s minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you. Ignore that! Instead, try to force a smile, gaze heavenward, and say, “I understand, Lord. I know what this is. A time to prove myself, isn’t it?” Then partner with Him to endure well to the end. Spiritual confidence increases when you accept that “often trials and tribulations are allowed to come into [your life] because of what [you] are doing right”
I hope we can learn to accept and partner with God to take the bumps in the road well. I’m hardly perfect at this, but like Blaise Pascal, who figured it was safer to wager there was a God than not, I figure it is easier to have hope, which leads to faith that the bumps are part of the plan, are even happening for what I’m doing right, because then Heavenly Father and I have something in common.
-A learning young woman
Alison is a born and raised native of Cache Valley, Utah who loves the beauty of the mountains and staying up late to write history papers. She’s traveled around the world, both physically and metaphorically, and says she’s learned one thing: Heavenly Father makes a very reliable traveling companion.
You can follow her musings about how to make a difference in the world we live in at http://www.ofchoicesandconsequences.blogspot.com/.